Wigan Family & Local History Society


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Posted by LEP1950 on 10th May 2017  

Families actually travelled a lot further in those days than one thinks. Twenty miles was nothing! And Brindle is under 20 miles from Wigan. The village was also very much associated with Catholicism. The Helen I found would be about the correct age, I think. On the other hand, there was a Worsick family having children christened from the 1760s onwards -lots of them - at a RC church in Bamber Bridge and I think the father may have been Helen's brother William. All her siblings' names were used for the children and at one or two of the baptisms Helena Worswick was the godmother. This would have been after the Helen you are looking for married Thomas Bonney. So I am having some doubts. especially having noticed that there were Worsicks in Standishgate, but strangely no baptisms at St John's!! I think the baptisms at Ince Hall were recorded only after 1787 (off the top of my head!)It is difficult with Catholic records, but a lot of my ancestors were not only Catholics, but also Irish Catholics, which makes searching even more difficult.
I'll have another browse around tonight.


Posted by LEP1950 on 10th May 2017  


You're right about the Quakers. I shouldn't write things I vaguely remember without checking. So thank you for putting that right. I do know that the 1754 act had to do with preventing clandestine marriages, but I just wanted to point out to Jon that there should be a CofE marriage even for Catholics in this period. Some, of course, married twice, but some (including a couple of my own ancestors) just had an Anglican ceremony despite being Roman Catholics.


Posted by margie on 10th May 2017  

To Lynda,
Really appreciate your help its a nightmare with both names as the RC baptisms don't go that far back for Wigan other areas have been put forward like Preston but I have my doubts families didn't really travel very far in the timescale I am looking at.

Posted by JMW on 10th May 2017  

On a point of detail, I believe it was Jews and Quakers, in addition to the Royal Family, who were exempted from having to be married in an Anglican church at the time. The intention being more to ensure complete and accurate record keeping than to impose a religious conformity. I think it was because by some definition the Society of Friends were not considered "Christian".

Posted by Margie on 10th May 2017  

For Elizabeth,
Thank you so much apparently the area I want is not available only in London at the parliamentary archives so have sent them an email waiting there response.

Posted by LEP 1950 on 9th May 2017  

My message still hasn't appeared after almost 4 hours. Just quickly, between 1754 and 1837 compulsory to marry in an Anglican church. No marriages in Ashton between 1754 and 1845 - only at mother church St Oswald's in Winwick.
Most likely marriage of Peter Boardman to Margaret Marsh of Deane on 30 Sept 1760. She was possibly baptised in Deane on 8 Oct 1738, daughter of John Marsh, abode Rumford. The date would fit with her age on Elizabeth's document of 1767 (i.e. 30), but she doesn't seem to be a Papist at this point. Although I've read that sometimes Catholics had their children christened in Anglican churches "pro forma", so I don't know. But can Peter really have a Thomas with Ellen and another with Margaret? (Little Thomas's age would fit in with a marriage in 1760). It seems strange. Or is one a relative who has been taken in and "adopted"??


Posted by LEP1950 on 9th May 2017  


I really have a lot going on at the moment and so I haven't really been following what you have been discussing with Elizabeth. I just noticed your remark about Catholic marriages. It was actually a legal requirement in England for all marriages (except Puritans and Jews and the Royal family, I think) to take place in an Anglican church between 1754 and 1837. So if a Peter Boardman married a Margaret after his first wife's death in 1754, then there should be a marriage somewhere. Also I remembered from my own ancestry research that no marriages took place at St Thomas, Ashton between 1754 and 1845, but at St Oswald's in Winwick. Since men tended to remarry quickly in those days look at the marriage to a Margaret Marsh on 30 Sep 1760. There was a later one in 1777 to a Margaret Lowe. Unfortunately status such as "widower" is not given in records at this time at this church.

I'll get back to you when I've done helping Margie.


Posted by JBrown86 on 9th May 2017  

Hi Elizabeth,

I found what I assume must be Peter Boardman's first wife:

Burial: 7 Feb 1754 St Thomas, Ashton in Makerfield, Lancashire, England
Ellen Boardman - Wife of Peter Boardman
Performed at: Ashton Chapel
Register: Burials 1746 - 1809, Page 5, Entry 14
Source: LDS Film 1885662

being Catholic I can't find his remarriage to a Margaret. I agree with the 1779 burial of him as well - interesting that burials of non-CoE are on the registers such as Lancs OPC but not the baptisms or marriages (for the most part). I can't find any definitive burial for Margaret - being so much younger than him, perhaps she even remarried, but being Catholic this wouldn't be on Lancs OPC anyway.

I used a couple other sites to scan limited Catholic records for the Boardmans and Unsworths in question, with no luck :(

On Richard Unsworth, he seems to have had a son who was buried about 5 months after Richard himself:

Burial: 1 Nov 1771 All Saints, Wigan, Lancashire, England
Joseph Unsworth - Son of Richd. Unsworth
Abode: Haigh
Source: LDS Film 1885699

This is the only child I can find for this couple (Richard & Betty) at this stage. Perhaps he was their only infant death hence the burial record. It doesn't indicate how old Joseph was though. Richard is not indicated as deceased in the record.

Hope your day goes well


Posted by LEP1950 on 8th May 2017  


I'm now having second thoughts about Helen Worsake/Worsick. I discovered a burial at All Saints of a Sarah Worswick, daughter of Dr Worswick of Standishgate on 25 Feb 1741/42. She is noted as being "Rom.", i.e. a Roman Catholic. A year later a Mary Worswick, the wife of Richard of Standishgate was also buried at All Saints. Perhaps Helen was a daughter of this family. On the other hand, I suppose she could have been a niece, cousin or whatever and through these relatives found herself in Wigan. A lot of guesswork involved at this stage!


Posted by lEP1950 on 8th May 2017  

There was another William, chr. on 27 December 1741. The first William must have died. Missed that at first glance.


Posted by LEP1950 on 8th May 2017  

For Margie:

I'm a bit pressed for time at the moment, but I have so far managed to find a baptism of a HELENA WORSICK at St Joseph's RC church, Brindle (Chorley, so quite close) on 9 June, 1730. It is quite possible/likely that this is "your" Helen. Her parents were William (Gulielmus)and Isabella. Siblings:

ANNA (23 Sept 1726)
ELIZABETH (7 June 1728)
(HELENA, herself)
MARIA (3 Mar 1732)
MARIA (16 Feb 1734)
THOMAS (14 Fb 1736)
JOANNES (JOHN, 15 Jun 1738)

I found these on familysearch.org, but they will also be on ancestry as they are from the record "England select births and christenings 1538 - 1975)

Interestingly, there is a baptism somewhat later at this church of a
MARGARET BONNEY, bapt. 20 Feb 1788 to John Bonney and Margaret. Don't know whether this is a descendant.


Posted by JBrown86 on 8th May 2017  

Oops... I see now where that 1809 date came from. Mind blank... my apologies.

Posted by JBrown86 on 8th May 2017  

Also Linda,
an Ancestry family tree shows Ann Dixon born 18 Jan 1809 Billinge, daur of a William Dixon. There is no evidence given to back that information up, and Ann's age at death in 1867 makes it hard to believe. Wonder where it came from - I've found nothing yet. Hope your weekend is going well.


Posted by JBrown86 on 8th May 2017  

Hi Linda,

I've searched the "The Official Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial BMDs Service" at BMDRegisters.co.uk - unfortunately none of Thomas and Ann's children appear there either. I'll keep scouring the web.

Posted by JBrown86 on 8th May 2017  

Hi Linda,
I see 1803 as being way out with regards to the age Thomas is listed at on Censuses; however, his death in mid-1885 recorded at age 80 would make it only two or even just one year out - if the 1803 one is still worth considering.

I haven't found any of the children's baptisms yet - the children as per BMDs are as follows:

Mary (1827-1858)
Wm (1829-1859)
Margaret (b 1832)
Sarah (1834-1901)
Jane (1837-1903) (my ancestor)
Elizabeth (1839-1840)
Elizabeth (b 1841)
John (1844-1906)
Ann (b 1846)

Billinge seems to be the most common birthplace amongst the children. Upholland and Wigan also mentioned for some, though these could easily also be Billinge. Interesting to think perhaps the Fairhursts were Catholics.

I ran a LancsOPC search for surname Fairhurst bringing all results. Searching for the letters "RC," to find events in RC chapels brings 147 results; all of these are in St John RC in Wigan, save for one burial in Bedford Leigh and a 1904 marriage in Blackburn. They range from 1742 to 1904; nothing that would be Thomas & Ann's children however. Unfortunately.


Posted by Elizabeth Prior on 7th May 2017  

There are no Allens in the areas you mention.
The Bonney entries are in Walton le Dale,Westby, Medlar with Wesham,Warton (Kirkham parish)& Clifton with Salwick.
The only Bonny in the right area is Ellen, a spinner, age 40 who has lived in Ashton for 16 years.
The Dickinson (and variants) in the right areas are
Ann Dickenson age 81 a linen weaver living in Orrell.
Samuel Dickinson age 20 a farm servant living in Ashton for two years.
Ann Dickson age 18 a servant living in Arbury (Culcheth quarter)resident 6 months.
The other Dickinson entries range from Formby to Ribchester to Warton (Kirkham parish)
There are no Worsicks, a spelling that seems more common further north in Lancashire, but there are
Mary Worsup age 32 living in Hindley ousekeeper to Mr John Eastman the priest; she is 8 years a resident.
In Ashton there are the following Worsleys:-
Isabell age 64 a widow and farmer resident 16 years
Dolley (sic) her daughter age 30 also resident 16 years. I wonder if she is the same person as the Dorothy Worsick who stood godmother to Thomas son of Thomas & Ann Berry 26 September 1765 at St John's Wigan.
Thomas age 36 a weaver resident 36 years
Elizabeth age 32 his wife resident 32 years
Their children Richard (14),Mary (11, William (9) and Elizabeth (4)
William age 28 a carpenter resident 16 years and his son John age 6.
I hope this is of some help.

Posted by Margie on 7th May 2017  

Around the Winwick area including Lowton Golbourne Bryn & Ashton.
Yes various spellings also for Dickonson which does not help.

The other names also within the same area plus Wigan.

Thanks Margie

Posted by Elizabeth Prior on 6th May 2017  

Hi Margie,
Is there any particular area? I've had a quick look at the separate index and there is no Dickonson but there are Dicconsons, Diceonsons,Dickensons and Dickinson. The spellings do vary.

Posted by Margie on 6th May 2017  

For Elizabeth Prior,
Would you mind looking for the following names in the 1767 Return of Papists.

Bonney (various spellings)
Worswick : :

Thank you so much Margie.

Posted by Elizabeth Prior on 5th May 2017  

Hi Jon,
The document to which you refer is a marriage bond and is on-line at Findmypast.
John Unsworth is the groom and John Boardman the bondsman.
In August 1767 (Return of Papists)John Unsworth (18)is listed in Haigh with his father Richard(58),mother Betty(58) and sister Betty(21). Richard is described as a farmer and the family has lived in Haigh for 22 years. It is highly likely that the Richard who died in 1771 and was buried at Wigan is the same person. He left a will and I would say that it is well worth applying for a copy from Lancashire Archives.
John Boardman, the bondsman, is almost certainly the same person as the John Boardman(38) in the 1767 Return who was living in Southworth & Croft with his wife and children. His occupation is farmer.
Margaret Boardman(18) is in Ashton quarter listed with her father Peter(50),stepmother Margaret(30) and siblings John(20),Thomas(12)and confusingly another Thomas(6). Her father is described as a farmer. The family has always lived in Ashton.
I suspect that John the bondsman is a younger brother of Peter.
I hope this is of some help/use.